[Air-L] What is web culture?

Callahan, Ewa S. Prof. Ewa.Callahan at quinnipiac.edu
Thu Jan 17 17:39:58 PST 2008


José, 

Thanks for the pointers.

I would not use the word "misuse", since many of the studies are exploratory in nature, but I agree with you that Hofstede's theory does not fully explain the complexity of the online interactions. Similarly to the CMC studies you mention, a number of the studies (including my own most recent one) on characteristics of web design in different countries find only partial support of usefulness of his theory in Internet studies, and mostly in the dimensions identified also by other theorists (Hall, Trompennars). However, all those studies have used Hofstede's theory for researching web interactions of people from different national/ethnic cultures.  What I am looking for is a study that treats the culture of web users with disregard to national/ethnic cultures, and tries to use Hofstede's dimensions to analyze it as a whole.  This seem to be rather farfetched approach, even further testing "streachibity" of this theory, but if we think about it in category of unifying and equalizing (to a degree of course) characteristics of the Internet, some of the dimensions like for example low power distance may be reasonable. Testing it empirically is a different story :-)

Greetings, 
Ewa
-------------------------
Ewa Callahan
Assistant Professor of Communications
Quinnipiac University
275 Mount Carmel Avenue
Hamden, CT 06518
203-582-3470


  
  

-----Original Message-----
From: air-l-bounces at listserv.aoir.org [mailto:air-l-bounces at listserv.aoir.org] On Behalf Of Jose Abdelnour-Nocera
Sent: Thursday, January 17, 2008 4:21 AM
To: air-l at listserv.aoir.org
Subject: Re: [Air-L] What is web culture?


Hofstede's work has often been misused as a way to understand culture in
the context of CMC and online behaviour. His national culture dimensions
are too broad and high level to understand the complexity of 'web
culture'. There are many different levels at which cultural
reproduction, transformation and construction occur on the web,
especially in on-line communities.

These are some of many papers about online communities and CMC that show
how Hofstede's dimensions fail to explain accurately on line / cmc
behaviour based on the nationality of users. In all of them, authors
tend to provide only conjectures about why certain behaviour did not
correspond to that 'prescribed' by a particular national culture
dimension.

CALHOUN, K. J., TENG, J. T. C. & CHEON, M. J. (2002) Impact of national
culture on information technology usage behaviour: an exploratory study
of decision making in Korea and the USA. Behaviour & Information
Technology, 21, 293 - 302.

EL-SHINAWY, M. & VINZE, A. S. (1997) Technology, culture and
persuasiveness: a study of choice-shifts in group settings.
International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 473-496.


In my earlier life I did an attempt to make sense of cultural
construction in IRC communities from a qualitative social psychology
perspective


Here it is


http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1083-6101.2002.tb001
46.x



I am aware this only addresses one aspect of web culture...but I thought
it might help.

Cheers,

José



Dr. José Abdelnour Nocera 
Senior Lecturer 
Institute for Information Technology
Thames Valley University
Room TC371 
St Mary's Road, Ealing - London W5 5RF 
Tel [work] +44(0)2082800251 / [home] +44(0)1908648376
Fax +44 (0)7006015408
http://itcentre.tvu.ac.uk/~jabdelno/

-----Original Message-----
From: air-l-bounces at listserv.aoir.org
[mailto:air-l-bounces at listserv.aoir.org] On Behalf Of Callahan, Ewa S.
Prof.
Sent: 17 January 2008 00:49
To: air-l at listserv.aoir.org
Subject: Re: [Air-L] What is web culture?

Hi all, 

Culture is a concept, so we can describe it the same way we describe
cultures in general (in terms of values and artifacts) although it is
rather like describing human (or world) culture. The Web in itself
presents a variety of different spaces, each of them with its own set of
characteristics. Is bloggers culture the same as Facebook culture? There
is probably some overlap, but number of people will embrace one, but not
the other.  

As someone pointed out, Web is an artifact, although we can still talk
about the culture of Internet users, who are similar to other cultural
groups that are identified on the bases of the activities they do (a
specific music culture, soccer culture etc) rather than national/ethnic
upbringing. Additionally, if we consider web an artifact, than we have
to keep in mind that its content is created by people of different
cultural (national/ethnic) backgrounds that will be reflected in the web
content and interaction. 

Someone mentioned once to me that the Web user culture can be described
in the terms of Hofstede's cultural dimensions (low power, high
individualism, masculine, etc.) but I have never found an actual
citation to that research. If anybody seen a study discussing web
culture from this perspective, please let me know. 

Best, 

Ewa Callahan
Assistant Professor of Communications 
Quinnipiac university

-----Original Message-----
From: air-l-bounces at listserv.aoir.org
[mailto:air-l-bounces at listserv.aoir.org] On Behalf Of Hall, Richard H.
Sent: Tuesday, January 15, 2008 1:14 PM
To: air-l at listserv.aoir.org
Subject: [Air-L] What is web culture?

1) How would you define web culture?
2) How is it unique, in comparison to other cultures?
3) What are some good/classic resources on the web describing and
defining
web culture?

... Thanks ... Richard

-- 
Richard H. Hall
Professor and Program Director, Information Science and Technology
Missouri S&T
http://mst.edu/~rhall


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